Carlsbad woman stabbed 50+ times in ‘brutal’ attack, prosecutor says

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VISTA, Calif. — Family members of Marjerie Gawitt openly sobbed as the prosecutor described the brutal way the Carlsbad 63-year-old was murdered inside her home Monday.

“In this particular case it’s a brutal, violent attack on a 63-year-old woman who was sleeping in her residence when they broke in,” Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney said. Gawitt was stabbed more than 50 times, Rooney said.

The murder happened just after midnight Monday on Outrigger Lane in Carlsbad. Gawitt was home alone when she was attacked. After the suspects took off with her car, she was able to call 911 but died about an hour after being transported to the hospital.

The two suspects, 37-year-old Ian Bushee and 26-year-old Malissa James, both face murder with special circumstances of burglary charges, which carry the death penalty. James is also facing a torture charge. She sat and sobbed during the entire court proceedings.

In arguing for no bail, Rooney said the two suspects are a threat to the community and described their prior residential burglary conviction. She said they are a flight risk: “They are transient. They have no ties here and were living in an encampment somewhat behind the victim’s residence when this occurred.”

Gawitt’s abandoned car was found in San Marcos and 12 hours after the crime the defendants were arrested near Gawitt’s home in Carlsbad.  The two were already on probation for a residential burglary committed last year in San Bernardino.  They will be back in court March 21st.

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